The Adaptable Minimalism of ATP Atelier
by Thomas Sweeney
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
Designed in Stockholm and handmade in Tuscany, the scaled-back sandals, shoes, boots, and handbags of ATP Atelier have all the makings of a minimalist's dream. "ATP" stands for "All Tomorrow's Parties," the Velvet Underground song that, along with 1960s fashion, inspired the brand's first collection. But for founders Jonas Clason and Maj-La Pizzelli, the ultimate inspiration lies in high-quality materials, Italian craftsmanship, and a holistic approach to sustainability—the trifecta that informs ATP Atelier's sleek designs.
Clason and Pizzelli became close friends in the 1980s while working for the Swedish retailer Gul & Blå, but eventually went their separate ways (at least in the fashion world). Over the next two decades, Clason developed a passion for jeans, at one time becoming the head of denim design at Acne Studios, while Pizzelli worked as a consultant for various Swedish clothing companies. In the summer of 2011, the two reunited for a month-long vacation in the Italian city of Otranto, on the Apulian Coast, where they discovered a studio that made simple leather sandals. They each bought a pair, wore them for the rest of the trip, and realized they had a foundation for a new leather-goods business, soon to be known as ATP Atelier.
"What has made our product unique, from the very start, is the combining of traditional Italian craftsmanship and Scandi design," says Pizzelli. "However, our starting point is always the leather, not the design. We respect the materials—like our vegetable-dyed vachetta leather, which makes up 70 percent of our collections—and let them dictate the terms. This makes the design process tricky, but so much more rewarding." This vachetta leather, worked by hand in a family-owned facility in Tuscany, appears on anything from a simple block-heel slide ("Peonia") to a gusseted, equestrian-inspired satchel ("Arezzo"), part of ATP Atelier's growing line of minimally branded handbags. Both styles will launch at The Line—Los Angeles mid-June.
What has made our product unique, from the very start, is the combining of traditional Italian craftsmanship and Scandi design.Maj-La Pizzelli
ATP Atelier's shoes and bags transcend seasons not only because of their streamlined look, but also because of the sustainability practices surrounding the vachetta leather. "We use only natural tannins," explains Pizzelli. "Vegetable tanning is Tuscan-artisan tradition that's been handed down for generations, and it's the only technique that gives the leather such unique characteristics. While it is not afraid to be a testimony of time—the leather will slightly darken from wear—the natural aging doesn't compromise its resistance." Additionally, the leather contains no nickel or PCP, and many of the tanning substances are recycled and reused.
The Line will soon début three black shoe styles by ATP Atelier months ahead of schedule—when they'll be released to everyone else. They include the "Clivia," a jodhpur boot with khaki-cloth side panels; the "Clusia," a slim-fitting ankle boot with a tonal block heel; and the "Alloro," a closed-toe mule. "The 'Alloro' and the 'Clusia' are based on the idea of a minimalistic 60s," says Pizzelli. "The squared toes are very retro, but when executed with a slender silhouette they become contemporary in an interesting way. They're both effortless and carefree, which speaks to the mood of the 60s. I have a bunch of vintage Harper's Bazaar magazines from this period which never cease to inspire me.".
As it happens, a carefree mood is the kind that Clason and Pizzelli aim to set with the brand itself. "All in all, the purpose of ATP Atelier is to create beautiful, sustainable, and affordable leather goods of the highest quality," says Pizzelli. "But we also wish to be a brand that inspires people to live a good life, to appreciate the small things. In fact, when they come in contact with ATP Atelier in any way, we guess they'll be inspired to cook an amazing bowl of Italian pasta."
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